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PHYS-130 ASTRONOMY (On-line)
I. Basic Course Information
A. Course Number and Title: PHYS-130 Astronomy
B. Date of Proposal: February, 2007
C. Sponsoring Department: Science & Engineering
D. Semester Credit Hours: 4
E. Weekly Contact Hours:
Lecture: 3*
Laboratory: 2*
*On-line course. Hour equivalents if offered on campus.
F. Prerequisites: MATH 023 Algebra Mod II
G. Laboratory Fees: Yes*
II. Catalog Description
Prerequisite: MATH 023 Algebra Mod II
This course studies periodic changes in the night sky, astronomical
instrumentation, the solar system, stars, nebulae and galaxies, and cosmology.
Laboratory exercises will utilize simulations and night-sky observations. May be
used to fulfill one semester of a laboratory science requirement for non-science
majors, or as an elective for science majors.
III. Statement of Course Need
The course Introduction to Astronomy (PHYS-120) is essentially a nonlaboratory, non-observational astronomy course. Since many lab exercises can be
done with the naked eye or with simulations and images available on the Web, the
opportunity now exists to create a laboratory version, which can be given either as
a web-based course, or as a hybrid course combining classroom, laboratory,
observational, and web-based modules.
IV. Place of Course in College Curriculum
The course is a General Education course in Science (Lab)
Free elective
B. Course transferability: Fully transferable as an Astronomy survey course.
V. Outline of Course Content
Getting acquainted, getting organized, the nature of science and astronomy.
Astronomical cycles, calendars, celestial guideposts
Planets, Astrology, Archaeoastronomy, Greek Astronomy
Renaissance Astronomy and the Copernican revolution
The physics of astronomy: gravitation, light, and telescopes
General overview of the solar system
Earth and moon, eclipses and tides
Planets, terrestrial and jovian
More on planets. Also asteroids, comets and meteorites
The Sun
Stars in general. The HR diagram
Binaries, variables, clusters, stellar evolution
Modern Cosmology, and searches for extra terrestrial intelligence.
VI. Educational Goals and Learning Outcomes
Educational Goals
Students will:
A. Develop an appreciation and understanding of the ways in which astronomical
knowledge in particular, and scientific knowledge in general, is obtained. (G.
E. 4, 7)
B. Develop an awareness of the universe around them—from the microscopic to
the largest known structures. (G. E. 3, 7)
C. Engage in direct astronomical observations (G. E. 3, 7)
D. Connect observational data to astronomical concepts and theories. (G. E. 3, 7)
Learning Outcomes
Students will be able to:
• Make observations of the sky, observing the motions of celestial objects.
• Prepare written reports analyzing their observations.
• Apply mathematical concepts to the motions of stars, planets, etc.
Utilize a variety of print, electronic, and internet resources to explore the
field of astronomy.
VII. Modes of Teaching and Learning
On-line lecture/discussion
Laboratory (Observations of the sky)
independent study
VIII. Papers, Examinations, and other Assessment Instruments
laboratory reports
final exam
on-line discussions
IX. Grade Determinants
laboratory reports
final exam
on-line discussions
X. Texts and Materials
Suggested text: Horizons- Exploring the Universe, by Michael A. Seeds, Thomson,
(Please Note: The course outline is intended only as a guide to course content and
resources. Do not purchase textbooks based on this outline. The RVCC Bookstore is the
sole resource for the most up-to-date information about textbooks.)
XI. Resources
XII. Honors Options
Not applicable.